In honour of Pride Month, HRD spoke with leaders on the best ways to support and promote LGBTQ rights in the workplace – both in June and beyond
Pragashini Fox, Head of Talent & Diversity, spoke to HRDTV to share how they celebrate Pride Month along with the importance of pronouns, allies, and Thomson Reuters' various LGBTQIA+ initiatives.
Kylie: [00:00:19] Hello. I'm Kylie Speer. Welcome to HRDTV. With me to discuss how to celebrate Pride Month is Pragashini Fox, head of talent and diversity at Thomson Reuters. Pragashini, welcome and thank you for joining us.
Pragashini: [00:00:34] Thank you. It's great to be here.
Kylie: [00:00:36] Pragashini is working to build a best in class product organization and leading the talent and diversity centers of excellence, including talent acquisition. She is a member of Thomson Reuters People Leadership Team and is responsible for architecting the organization's overall talent strategy, including how to attract, develop, retain and grow the best talent while building diverse teams and an inclusive environment at Thomson Reuters. Thanks again for joining us. Before we get into how you celebrate Pride. Can you please tell me a little bit about Thomson Reuters and your global workforce?
Pragashini: [00:01:20] Yeah, thank you. So we're leading business information services company powering the world's most informed professionals in legal, tax and accounting and compliance with specialized software and AI powered tools. We also have Reuters, the world's most global news services, with correspondents around the world, which is also part of Thomson Reuters. And I'm proud to say that we're one of the only companies in the world that helps its customers pursue justice, truth and transparency. And what I mean by that is through our products, we help uphold the rule of law, turn the wheels of commerce, catch bad actors, report the facts, and inform people all over the world through our trusted and unbiased journalism as well. We have about 24,000 employees globally across about 70 countries, including the US Canada, where I'm based. UK, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and India. And recently we just launched our company's purpose, which is to inform the way forward, which really does express the role that we play for professionals and the institutions we serve.
Kylie: [00:02:27] Turning to pride. When did you first start celebrating Pride Month as a company?
Pragashini: [00:02:32] Yeah. The first official celebration of Pride Month at Thomson Reuters began over 20 years ago, actually in 2001. The Pride at Work Business Resource Group, the network in the US was launched. The Private World Network brings together all of our LGBTQIA plus employees and allies to drive greater inclusion, belonging, equity, focusing on our employees, but also on our customers and the wider community in which we live and work. So over the two decades, Pride celebrations have grown significantly, along with the expansion of our Pride at Work Network, which extends to all of our employees globally and often brings together our customers and local communities as well to celebrate the Pride Month alongside Thomson Reuters. So that's a huge part of what we do today. Our Pride at Work Business Resource Group's network includes multiple locations and chapters that span across 15 countries in which we operate, bringing a truly a global view of the LGBTQIA. Plus diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity at our workplace and in the space that we work every day. So really critical that we're doing this.
Kylie: [00:03:47] Interesting. Thank you. Please, can you share specific initiatives you have taken to celebrate Pride Month?
Pragashini: [00:03:53] Yeah, I'm happy to and happy to love to learn and share as well. So the Pride Month at TR or Thomson Reuters is a worldwide celebration and truly special as we celebrate this. As I mentioned before, the 15 countries that brings together all of our employees and allies to celebrate, to share, to reflect and learn together. Last year, for example, we celebrated Pride Month with 20 plus virtual events, which took we obviously we took the opportunity of being remote to open this activation to all our employees throughout the month of June. This year, we're continuing this momentum with similar activities throughout the month of June. But just to mention a few things that we did last year. So we had an internal campaign on online challenge, which was called 2021 Pride Quest that introduced colleagues to key blogs and content written by our Pride at work members. We also had a global social media campaign titled Count Me In for Pride 2021. This was a weekly theme in which colleagues and our customers could use to create some social share cards for use across the range of social channels. And we had great participation, including our CEO and other senior leaders across the organization and individual contributors that participated in this. We have a hashtag Be You at TR, which we use for new colleagues joining Thomson Reuters. We also focus this employer branding campaign to feature all of our LGBTQIA colleagues and their stories and identities and perspectives to bring Thomson Reuters together. I think this was really critical for us to have to showcase and to share the stories as well. We also have coffee chats and roundtable discussions that are led by the LGBTQIA plus employees allies on topics such as Allyship, Resiliency, which brings together small groups so that small enough to have an intimate conversation and an open dialogue to share interest, peer to peer learning and networking. So we keep these purposefully smaller numbers. And just a couple of more examples. We have learning sessions with guest speakers with a special focus on intersectional topics such as LGBTQIA identity and military services or civil rights or intersectionality with allyship. So these are all key speaker series that we have as well. So these are some of the events and opportunities that we've been able to share across Thomson Reuters to continue to promote awareness and share and celebrate as well.
Kylie: [00:06:33] What was the outcome? Staff reaction to your pride, celebrations and activities?
Pragashini: [00:06:39] It's been really great. We have one. We have great engagement from our employees across the Pride Month events and activations, both from our employee population and also from our leaders. And this not only provided an opportunity to learn, to celebrate and embrace our colleagues who are being their authentic selves. But it was also important that we were honoring the courage of others who are reflecting and sharing as well. Some of the feedback we've heard from those who have participated expressing their pride, being able to be the authentic self and then from allies who have attended. They have appreciated to and talked about having this opportunity to learn, to interact and try to be part of an organisation that champions diversity, inclusion and and reinforcing their commitment and their role as a leader and a colleague to be an ally. So I would say it's been great engagement from participation to great feedback across the board.
Kylie: [00:07:41] As a global company, does it change how you approach pride?
Pragashini: [00:07:45] I would say it's it's it's been each year we approach our pride month very particularly with a global mindset. We are a global company. We want to make sure that everybody feels included or are included. And so ensuring that we host events, topics, opportunity for our colleagues across multiple time zones, languages and locations to engage in practice across the entire global team. We are very fortunate that our globally distributed Pride Work Network, via the members and partners, are critical in helping to ensure this wide reach and opportunity is there. So we are really dependent on those individuals for a greater inclusion belonging in the participation with our local LGBTQ plus employees and local external partners. We also look to create space and locations where there might be a different place as culturally related to include the equity as well. So yeah, so I think it's it's been a huge opportunity and actually a great strength for Thomson Reuters to make sure that we're approaching all of pride and all of our other diversity inclusion initiatives and awareness as a global mindset.
Kylie: [00:09:03] What do you have planned for this year that others in HR may use as inspiration to celebrate Pride Month?
Pragashini: [00:09:10] Yeah. It's, it's, it's been exciting and lots of work behind the scenes. But in 2022, we're continuing our Pride Month Global Social Media Campaign. This year's theme is hashtag coming out at TR and the approach has been for a global employee population and the customers to share stories and examples of how Thomson Reuters is actively showing up as a visible ally. Some of the prompts, so the hashtag coming out of it includes coming out at our site, creating an onsite activation for colleagues to take photos together and to share the importance of being able to come out together as colleagues. We also have coming out as an ally to share why it's important to them to support LGBTQIA and colleagues and customers and why allyship matters and not just so sort of active allyship versus just saying that I'm an ally. Also coming up for Pride, so sharing why Pride Month is important, coming out together, sharing how you connect with the community and pride and positive impact, and then coming out with pronouns, explaining why pronouns are important to them. And we can increase that inclusivity through using those pronouns. So the hashtag of coming out at TR has many of these components that we're excited to have a social media campaign and celebrate together and learn.
Kylie: [00:10:40] How do you keep the momentum going beyond Pride Month?
Pragashini: [00:10:44] So it is really important that we have allies and allyship across the organisation so that these are individuals who are advocating on others behalf, learning when they see whether it's micro-aggressions or other ways that they're experiencing, not being inclusive, that these allies step up and speak up, speak up on behalf of what they're seeing. So I think it's critical. It's crucial to have allies show up at workplaces and hopefully you'll hear more about it if you haven't heard yet.
Kylie: [00:11:17] Please tell us more about Thomson Reuters. Broader count me in initiative.
Pragashini: [00:11:23] So in 2020, Thomson Reuters created this campaign campaign and this was really done to work to increase the number of countries in which we had employee self identification to make that possible. So encouraging our employees to share attributes of their race, ethnicity, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation. And this is completely voluntary. And really what it does is it gives the organization a complete view of diversity at Thomson Reuters and provides useful data and insights for us to power the DNI and the people's strategy. So really it gives us data to see where the gaps are and where we need to be able to put some greater focus to increase the diversity inclusion in our company. We now have, through this initiative gender identification and sexual orientation in 44 countries, and prior to this it was only in six countries in 2020. In addition to creating the space to celebrate our differences and inform the strategy, it helps drive further accountability and to transparency. So really, as we become more transparent to share this information as well collective so there's it's confidential so we don't do anything individual but aggregate. So we now report this aggregated diversity data in our annual social impact report and the ESG report as well. So greater transparency brings greater accountability that we're also able to make some meaningful shifts in our diversity inclusion goals within the organization.
Kylie: [00:13:05] I have seen numerous articles encouraging all employees to implement email, sign off pronouns for Pride Month and beyond. Is this something you have tried? Please share how it went and is going.
Pragashini: [00:13:17] Yeah, I think it's small steps, but huge opportunity as part of our standard email signature templates and guidelines that are available to our employees globally. We have included options for employees to list their pronouns and encourage people to use this option. So we've given tools and resources just to make employees aware and to support them through this journey. In addition, we've also provided details of individuals can include their pronouns in their employee profiles as well to bring greater visibility to these options. And I think the reason why it's important is this really helps make our workplace safer and more inclusive for trans nonbinary and gender non-conforming colleagues, but also helps our employees to model allyship and promote the LGBTQ inclusion across Thomson Reuters. It also shows our recognition for a wider range of gender expressions and gender identities were presented in the organisation. So we continue to share tips and tools and why it's important. So we're on this journey and I'm sure many others are. But supporting for added pronouns, email signatures and online have been increasing across the organisation, even visibly. I can see that. So we're making progress and promoting continue to promote this.
Kylie: [00:15:20] But and finally Pragashini, is there anything else you would like to add or share?
Pragashini: [00:15:26] Yeah. I mean, look, I just want to thank for this opportunity to share and to learn together. And I think what's something that I want to leave with is everyone deserves a chance to be their true, authentic selves, especially at their place of work. So the commitment to supporting and empowering our people skills, background voices, this is something that we at Thomson Reuters aspire to and work to achieve every day. Like I said, some of it is small steps, but we have to start somewhere and want to make sure. So it's really important that we continue these conversations every chance we get. And and therefore, I truly appreciate this opportunity to share as well. So thank you.
Kylie: [00:16:08] Excellent. Thank you so much for your time, Pragashini, and thank you for watching HRDTV.